Is How To Be A Woman a feminist book? Well, yes, of course it is, but only in so much as explores what it means to be female in modern day Britain and then challenges that.
Should all women read this book? Yes. Should all men? Hell yes. If anything, it may give you a bit more of an understanding as to why we flip out when we have nothing to wear.
I loved How To Be A Woman. I couldn't wait to read Moranthology. If How To Be A Woman is Moran's humorous mantra, then Moranthology are her sermons. A collection of her best columns from The Times, sandwiched together with musings over topics that didn't quite fit into the How To Be A Woman structure (like the conversations with her husband Pete, who is drifting off to sleep moments before Moran gets her newest bolt of lighting, need to discuss it right now moment). The problem with Moranthology is that you are reminded on a regular basis just how extraordinary a life Moran has led thus far. A published writer, TV presenter and music critic whilst still in her teens, she has interviewed (and partied) with music's royalty, been late to interview the PM and downed gin with the poster children of TV and film. She is still only in her 30's. Makes you a bit sick.
All through Moranthology though, you get a much stronger feel for who she is as a person and how she is as part of a strong family unit. You get the feeling that, no matter who you are, she will quite happily plant down, spark up, pour out two large glasses and natter away with you until the small hours. She is endearingly human and you get a sense of that no matter if she is talking about Lady Gaga lying down drunk with her head in Moran's lap in a sex club in Germany or playing with her kids on a beach in Wales before going for a picnic.
Her observations are not just over the convoluted and sometimes ridiculous plot lines of Downton Abbey (the ability of a maid to kill the unborn Earl of Downton with a bar of lilac soap was a particular favourite of hers) or which Ghostbuster you should dress up as, but also offer a compassionate and frankly much more honest look at the some of the more serious issues facing society, such as the real life implications of benefits cuts on those families who truly need them (from the voice of someone whose family relied on those benefits when her father was unable to work) and her strident belief in the value of our public libraries 'a library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life-raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination. On a cold rainy island, they are the only sheltered public spaces where you are not a consumer, but a citizen instead'. You can read her full libraries column here.
|Levon Biss for The New York Times|
Her latest offering, the semi-autobiographical How To Build A Girl is now out as well. I'm off to get a copy.
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